The Ferrari specialist and master classic car restorer Wayne Carini, developed a huge fan base of car enthusiasts through the popularity of the reality television series, “Chasing Classic Cars.” Wayne’s brilliance in automobile building as well as his charming personality made the show last for more than a decade, until it stopped airing in 2021. His loyal viewers continue to hope that he would be back on TV again, to let the public witness his amazing car restoration skills, as they wonder what’s keeping him busy these days.
- 1 Wayne Carini before “Chasing Classic Cars”
- 1.1 He came from a comfortable household with a car restorer for a father
- 1.2 Spent time assisting his father in the auto shop after school
- 1.3 A different career projection in college
- 1.4 His father’s offer of 50% ownership of the family business
- 1.5 Built his own brand with multiple successful businesses
- 1.6 Mentored by the best in the business
- 2 Wayne Carini in “Chasing Classic Cars”
- 3 Interesting controversies and rumors about Wayne and “Chasing Classic Cars”
- 4 Memorable car restorations in “Chasing Classic Cars”
- 5 Wayne Carini’s whereabouts in 2023
Wayne Carini before “Chasing Classic Cars”
Wayne Carini’s impeccable reputation didn’t develop overnight. It was years of hard work and making the most of every opportunity that came his way, whether it was to learn from his mistakes or improve his skills – he never lost the urge to explore and innovate.
He came from a comfortable household with a car restorer for a father
When Wayne Carini was born on 13 October 1951, in Portland, Connecticut, people around him already knew that he was destined for greatness. He came from a well-off family, and his parents, Robert “Bob” Carini and Rosemary Dooney, were prominent people in their neighborhood. His father was heavily into restoring cars since he was a child., and was one of the founding members of an organization called Model “A” Restorers Club, or MARC, which was launched in the early 1950s, and was its first Vice President. Her mother previously worked for International Aero Engines and Golden Goblet, before her retirement.
Spent time assisting his father in the auto shop after school
While Wayne wasn’t hard up for money, his father was a true believer in teaching his children the value of hard work. He became his father’s apprentice early on in his life; each day after school, he would go straight to his father’s auto shop for his training. It was there that he learned the art of cleaning, sanding, welding and fabricating car parts. His father was quite proud that Wayne was equipped with knowledge in dismantling and rebuilding Model A engines, even as a third grader.
A different career projection in college
Wayne had a different dream when he was in college. Initially he studied Architecture, but changed his mind and later on graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Art Education from Central Connecticut State University. He wanted a career in one of the noblest professions in the world, which was teaching art to college students. ‘I went to college to become an architect, but then I changed my major to art education.’ However, he was down on his luck when it came to finding the right school and the right job for him. It wasn’t because he wasn’t accepted by any educational institution, or that he lacked proficient teaching skills, but because he couldn’t find the right environment that would be satisfactory to him.
His father’s offer of 50% ownership of the family business
When Wayne wasn’t contented with what he was doing, his father took advantage of the situation. The older Carini wanted his son to continue his legacy, and it was at this phase in Wayne’s life that he offered him something that would entice him to work in the auto shop – Wayne couldn’t say ‘no’ to a 50% ownership stake in the business, and his decision wasn’t hard to make since he’d fallen in love with Ferrari sports cars at the age of nine. Initially, he thought that fixing cars would just be a hobby, not a career, but his father was quite cunning in the sense that he knew it would take some time for his son to become involved in the business. While Wayne was growing up, he made sure to take him along to as many car shows and museums as he could find, so that Wayne’s love of cars would develop into something much deeper.
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Built his own brand with multiple successful businesses
Wayne never relied solely on his father’s name, even if 50% of the business was given to him as a gift. He inherited his father’s work ethic, and built a great reputation for restoring and selling cars. He exceeded his father’s expectations by being hands-on, not only with Continental Auto Ltd, the business that he inherited from his father, but also with the two other businesses he established on his own, car dealership F40 Motorsports, and Carini Caozzeria, a car restoration shop that also served as his headquarters. These establishments were created to complement and depend on each other for their other needs, instead of outsourcing them to other businesses.
Mentored by the best in the business
Nothing would top being trained by someone you looked up to, as Wayne gained some of his car restoration skills from his father. Bob fully imparted the industry’s secrets to his son when he joined the auto shop. Wayne always had the passion to learn more, and was a great believer in the value of education. When two renowned experts on Ferrari cars, Francois Sicard and Luigi Chinetti Jr., met him, they were astonished to learn about his deep admiration and true respect for Ferrari technology. They agreed to mentor him on Ferrari car-building tricks, including design, structure, and engine.
Wayne Carini in “Chasing Classic Cars”
Long before the reality TV show was offered to him, Wayne Carini already had prominent personalities and known car collectors as regular customers.
How did Wayne get mixed up with reality TV?
Due to his reputation of being one of the best classic car restorers out there, he caught the interest of one of the executive producers in Essex Television Group, Jim Astroski. Wayne was featured in shows they produced for Discovery Channel, such as “The World’s Most Expensive Cars” and “Monterey Week.” Those two appearances served as his screen test, and with his charming personality, Jim and the people from Essex felt that he had the perfect persona to build a reality TV show around. When he received an offer from them, he was initially quite reluctant, as he couldn’t figure out what was special about him that could attract viewers to tune in. The only reason Wayne said ‘ye’s to the TV offer was because Jim Astroski agreed on all of his terms, including no script, no make-up, and he wouldn’t be forced into doing anything he didn’t like. For him, he wanted it to be as natural as possible.
The popularity of the show
He changed the Tuesday night habit of Discovery Channel viewers, as it was the only automobile-themed show at that time. While it had decent ratings, it didn’t skyrocket immediately, as it took the cast and the crew some time before it became one of the most-watched TV shows at that time. The production crew felt that it was because “Chasing Classic Cars” never resorted to scripted drama with tension-filled scenes. Wayne once said, ‘I’ll just be myself, and if it works, it works.’ It eventually did, and as a testament, the reality TV show lasted for 17 seasons.
Interesting controversies and rumors about Wayne and “Chasing Classic Cars”
While it was generally accepted that “Chasing Classic Cars” veered away from the usual scripted confrontational scenes and the incredibly fake relationships that supposedly blossomed in a reality TV show, it seemed that this automobile show had its own share of controversies.
The abrupt dismissal of Roger Barr from the show
Roger Barr became a fan favorite because he wasn’t just an excellent mechanic, but a former car racer as well. He was part of Wayne’s businesses, F40 Motorsports and Carini Carozzeria. Wayne was 10 years old when he met Roger, and after Wayne became the top honcho of the business when his father passed away, he hired the 65-year-old mechanic. When Roger wasn’t seen again after the 14th season of the show, theories behind it were discussed online. One was that he had a falling out with Wayne, and two, Roger was struck with an illness so he could no longer participate in the filming of the show – on his Facebook page, Roger clarified everything and wrote ‘In the mail, I received a notice that I was involuntarily terminated.’ No one called him up to inform him about it.
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Roger Barr was never paid for his appearance in the reality show
Viewers of “Chasing Classic Cars” were shocked when Roger Barr revealed on his social media page that he never received any payment for his participation in the show. ‘I wasn’t paid anything to appear on camera.’ He insinuated that there were people who were trying to spin the stories that he had a million-dollar net worth, and said that if he had that amount of money, he could have had his teeth fixed, then when he was hospitalized, his friends even set up a GoFundMe page to help pay the bills. Some fans said that he might not have had any contract with the TV producers, but was automatically included in the show since he was part of Wayne’s auto shop.
Wayne didn’t know everything about cars that came into his garage
Unless Wayne was some sort of a genius with a photographic memory, he wouldn’t know every single thing about the car he was about to restore or those that were featured in the show. They had a team of researchers to collect and study data. No one was questioning Wayne’s extensive knowledge about classic cars, but he didn’t know all of it, the producers just made it appear that way, since it made the pesentation more interesting.
No matter how much Wayne wanted everything to be as natural as possible, the show must be entertaining enough to generate high TV ratings. It wasn’t a huge surprise anymore when there were rumors that the real cost of restoration was hidden from the public, as some of them were allegedly quite exorbitant. Even when it was time to auction the restored car, the prices were not shown realistically. There were so many things that needed to be done, and fees to be paid before a car could be auctioned. The TV show neglected to mention if the cars that were restored subsequently yielded enough profit for Wayne. There were even times when they failed to sell the car, but they weren’t shown for obvious reasons.
Memorable car restorations in “Chasing Classic Cars”
More than 200 episodes of “Chasing Classic Cars” were aired, and there was quite a long list of amazing car restorations that had been in the show. Here are just some of them:
The Roosevelt’s 1932 Packard
In 2017, Andrew Cuomo, then the Governor of New York State, wanted to fix former president Franklin D. Roosevelt’s vintage car, a 1932 Packard Twin Six, purchased when FDR was in his second term as governor. The last time it was used publicly was in 1982, during the official visit of Netherlands royals, Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus. It was never driven on the road again after that, and the last time that it was inspected by a mechanic was in 1988, when it only had 40,000 miles on it. Governor Cuomo only gave Wayne and F40Motorsports about 10 days to have it all ready for parade day during the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Kosciuszko Bridge. Wayne and his crew excitedly checked the engine, brakes, and clutcy gave it a great tune-up, and sent a bill close to $10,000.
The award-winning 1921 Stutz Bearcat
Classic car enthusiasts would go over the moon when they get to see rare vintage cars in a car show, but one could only imagine how overwhelmed Wayne was when he discovered a 1921 Stutz Bearcat in its original form in a garage in Georgia. It had been purchased several decades ago and remained unrestored, with only 10,000 miles on the clock. Wayne and Roger along with the F40Motorsports crew were all in awe that it was preserved in such great condition. The car restoration went on without any problem, then it stayed in Wayne’s garage for a time before he decided to enter it into the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance, and no one was surprised when it was recognized as the best-preserved regularly driven car of the early 1900s, and received the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens International Federation of Historic Vehicles, or FIVA Award. Eventually, Wayne put it up on the auction block, and it sold for $600,000.
The only remaining bespoke 1966 Ferrari 365P Tre Posti
Luigi Chinetti Jr. brought to him a quite rare car, said to be the last Ferrari created exclusively for a client, a 1966 Ferrari 365P Tre Posti. While Wayne didn’t take part in restoring the car, he was chosen to be the caretaker before it was auctioned. It was one of only two types of Ferrari cars that were created by Pininfarina with a driver seat designed in the middle. At that time, there was a reserve price when it was auctioned, organized by Gooding & Company. The $23.5 million offer for it was rejected by the owner, as Luigi along with Wayne expected it to at least have it sold at $30 million.
Wayne Carini’s whereabouts in 2023
“Chasing Classic Cars” ended in August 2021, but Wayne Carini was still as busy as ever, even at the age of 71. He divided his time pursuing several interests aside from dealing with classic cars, and being active in managing his three businesses.
Some of Wayne’s spare time was devoted to the family’s advocacy, which was to help autism organizations in conducting research to improve the quality of life of those who suffered from autism spectrum disorders. It became one of the family’s primary missions in life, since his youngest daughter was diagnosed with it when she was a child.
Having a great time doting on his grandson
Even if he was still busy looking for those vintage cars with their original parts still intact to add to his amazing personal classic car collection, he dedicated some of his time to playing with his grandson named Connor, whom he believed would one day be a car racer or a car restorer just like him and his great-grandfather. Wayne started to expose Connor to the automobile world, even at a very young age, by taking him to car events and museums.
A new partner in a cable TV network
Based on his social media accounts, he posted in February 2023 that he’d become involved as a partner in the relaunching of a TV network called Speedvision, an automotive and aviation-related cable channel, which was owned by Fox Network. ‘I’ll be joining with friends like Ray Evernham, Bill Goldberg, Mark Worman, Stacy David, Ant Anstead — and more.’ His fans were as excited as he was, but Wayne didn’t indicate if he would be part of a TV show, or if he would just work behind the camera, and conceptualize content for the network.
With a net worth of close to $25 million, it’s sufficient to say that Wayne Carini no longer needs to work for the rest of his life. However, he inherited his father’s sense of self, putting emphasis on the value of working hard, helping others, and not being complacent about previous successes. At the age of 71, he’s still quite active in attending car shows and events across the US, and still spent a huge chunk of his time at Carini Carozzeria, restoring classic cars.